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TE Coby Fleener - New Orleans Saints

6-6, 247Born: 9-20-1988College: StanfordDrafted: Round 2

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From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Nov 28): Fleener was mostly quiet in the noisy 49-point performance by the Saints offense in Week 12, but he could be louder in Week 13 against one of the league's easiest defenses for tight ends - Detroit.

Week 13: vs Detroit Lions

All TE vs DET

Mark and Joe say: Good matchup. Wow, Drew Brees handed the Rams their collective tuckus last weekend drilling them for 28/36 for 310 yards passing, four TDs and zero interceptions (with 1/1/1 rushing for good measure) - Willie Snead joined in with 1/1 for 50 yards passing, and one passing score, to push New Oleans to 360 yards passing and five TDs vs. zero interceptions thrown last weekend. It might be easier to list which New Orleans' receivers didn't score last week, but where's the fun in that? Michael Thomas led the team in targets, receiving yards and TDs with 10 for 9/108/2 receiving, followed by Josh Hill (six for 6/74/0), Coby Fleener (four for 4/59/0, Tim Hightower (two for 2/54/1), Snead (seven for 5/38/0) and Mark Ingram (two for 1/21/1). Brandon Coleman also scored (one for 1/3/1). Phew. New Orleans is on a roll in this phase of the game. The Lions held the Vikings to 31/37 for 224 yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown last weekend (zero sacks generated); Detroit gave up 22/35 for 202 net yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions (with zero sacks) to Blake Bortles and company two games ago. Note the zero sacks two weeks in a row - if a team doesn't get pass pressure on Drew Brees, he does bad things to them (just ask L.A.). Detroit is 14th in the NFL averaging 250.9 net passing yards allowed per game this season, but has handed out 20 TDs vs. just seven interceptions (tied for 19th in the NFL) and 20 sacks (tied for 25th in the NFL). From Week Nine to Week 12 of the 2016 season (over the last four weeks, but includes 14 teams on bye during that time span - each team has at least three games played in the last four weeks), Detroit has averaged 14.9 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (second-least in the NFL); and 17.9 fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers (third-least); with 8 fantasy points given up per game to tight ends (16th). Brees/the Saints is/are much better in this phase of the game than Sam Bradford/the Vikings - this looks like a good matchup as Brees will be in the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this weekend.

Recent Stats and Projections

9 at SF 30 3 42 0 0 4.2
10 vs DEN 32 2 26 0 0 2.6
11 at CAR 41 3 17 1 0 6.7
12 vs LA 18 4 59 0 0 5.9
13 vs DET PROJ-Dodds * 3 * * * *
13 vs DET PROJ-Tremblay * 2 * * * *
13 vs DET PROJ-Bloom * 3 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 12 vs LA (4 / 4 / 59 / 0 rec)

Fleener's first reception came in the red zone on New Orleans' second drive, a hitch in the left slot for 12 yards between two defenders. He ran a seam route early in the second quarter, elevating over an LA defender and making the catch despite a defensive holding penalty for 31 yards. Fleener stayed busy on the following drive, running a slant from a wideout position for a gain of five. He provided a checkdown option over the middle later in the half, picking up an easy 11 yards underneath the defense. Fleener was silent in the second half, and is just a fringe TE1, at best.

2016 Week 11 vs CAR (5 / 3 / 17 / 1 rec)

Fleener's first catch came late in the first quarter, a short out-route to the right seam which looked like a drop on first contact, but was ruled a catch-and-fumble for just a one yard gain on third-and-two. Fleener came across the field late in the first half on a shallow crosser for eight yards. He caught a rare second-half pass on a vertical route between two defenders for an eight-yard TD. It's clear that Fleener's 2016 role will not be a voluminous one.

2016 Week 10 vs DEN (2 / 2 / 26 / 0 rec)

Fleener got involved early as he has done multiple times this year, catching a dumpoff pass on the first play from scrimmage over the middle for eight when Drew Brees was feeling pressure. On the following possession, Fleener was matched up in man coverage with Von Miller, and Drew Brees attacked the matchup with a back-shoulder route. Fleener fought through tight coverage for an 18-yard catch, managing to stay in bounds with his forearm. He unsurprisingly disappeared the rest of the way, and is an easy drop candidate if he still remains on fantasy rosters.

2016 Week 9 vs SF (6 / 3 / 42 / 0 rec)

Fleener settled down in a shallow zone towards the right seam to pick up nine yards and narrowly move the chains. He ran a similar short out-route on the next drive, gaining seven yards underneath the defense in SF's red zone. Fleener received a goal line target later in the half that could've easily went for a TD if not for air-tight coverage from a SF linebacker. He ran a deep post route late in the first half through the middle of SF's defense, picking up 26 in the two-minute offense. Fleener has shown a pattern of disappearing in the second half of contests this season, and it happened again here. A lack of consistently valuable targets mean he needs a touchdown to return weekly TE1 value.

2016 Week 8 vs SEA (4 / 4 / 36 / 0 rec)

Fleener caught Brees' first pass of the game, a short out route to the right seam for a gain of four. He sat down in a short zone later in the first period for a modest pickup of eight underneath the defense. Fleener ran a shallow crossing route through the heart of Seattle's defense early in the second, gaining 11 before being pushed out-of-bounds. He nearly found the endzone midway through the fourth quarter, finding ample space on a shallow crosser but failing to break through contact to score. The 13-yard gain set the Saints up at the one-yard line. Fleener was given a chance to convert a 2PC early in the fourth, but the shovel pass was easily snuffed out by Seattle's defense. It wasn't a terrible day for Fleener, but this average production seems to be what to expect from him on a weekly basis. He executes his role in the offense, often in unspectacular fashion and seems to go down on first contact more often than not.

2016 Week 7 vs KC (2 / 2 / 44 / 0 rec)

Fleener's relatively quiet day did not get started until late in the first half, when he was seemingly uncovered on a vertical route through the middle of the field for 30 yards. Fleener's second and final catch came on the very next play, an intermediate in-route from the right slot that gained 14. Fleener coughed up the football on this play, but possession was fortunately recovered by a NO teammate. He was an afterthought for the rest of the afternoon, never even drawing another target. Fleener will not be the consistent TE1 than Ben Watson was in 2015, but he does offer weekly upside.

2016 Week 6 vs CAR (7 / 6 / 74 / 1 rec, 1 / 2 / 1 rush)

Fleener got involved early on, settling down in the middle of the field on New Orleans' first drive for seven yards. He caught a short stick-route in the right seam for five yards later in the series. A surprising playcall allowed Fleener to earn a rushing touchdown on a jet sweep off right tackle to punctuate the promising start. His next catch came very late in the first half, a simple checkdown for an easy five yards. The veteran added an exclamation point to his performance with a vertical route up the left seam, hauling in the pass between two defenders and accelerating through the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown. Fleener received two short crossing routes late in the fourth to gain four and three yards. The rushing touchdown was a bit fluky, but the 50-yard touchdown is a positive sign for his featured role at the heavily productive NO TE position.

2016 Week 4 vs SD (5 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec)

Fleener's first target came on the Saints' second drive, a shallow crossing route against a voided zone for nine yards and a new set of downs. He ran an in-breaking route for a key first down on the team's opening drive of the third quarter. Later in the period, he ran a very shallow stick route breaking toward the sideline, but was immediately thrown down after a two-yard pickup. New Orleans spent zero effort trying to establish a downfield passing game, limiting Fleener's production on the seam routes in which he thrived on last week. He's still ironing out the kinks in his new stomping grounds, but rarely earns much separation.

2016 Week 3 vs ATL (11 / 7 / 109 / 1 rec)

With Willie Snead sidelined, getting Fleener the ball took on added urgency, and he delivered for the most part. Fleener got involved in the game early, finding space in the left flat off play-action for five yards on the second play of the game. He later punctuated the long drive with a touchdown, running free in the endzone on an uncovered crosser off play-action. Fleener served as a safety valve early on the following drive, settling down in the right flat for a yard, but suffered a brutal drop on the very next play that ended a drive. Just before halftime, Fleener ran a deep seam route into wide open grass before hauling in a pass for 32 yards to set up a field-goal attempt. Fleener's next reception came early in the fourth on a shallow crosser for nine. The ball went right back in his direction on the following play, another deep seam route in which he encouragingly fought through contact to secure a 36-yard gain. Later in the period, he won against man coverage over the middle of the field to finish his promising night with a 109-yard pickup. The encouraging performance can be partly attributed to Snead's absence, but even Drew Brees acknowledged rising trust in his TE and more beneficial production should follow.

2016 Week 2 vs NYG (8 / 2 / 29 / 0 rec)

Hoping to rebound from his disappoint debut in a Saint uniform, Fleener unfortunately picked up just where he left off.Fleener was targeted on New Orleans' first third-down of the game, and although he had a step on his man coverage and the ball was placed perfectly into his hands, it fell incomplete. Fleener ran a shallow flat route midway through the second period to record his first catch, totaling seven yards underneath the defense. The offense continued to try to involve him in the attack, but two failed incompletions in the beginning of the third period had another disappointing day written in stone. Fleener finally had a notable gain midway through the fourth quarter, crossing through the middle of the field off play-action to gain 21 yards. The 25% success rate on his targets is anything but encouraging after last week's disappoint performance, and Fleener has to be downgraded to risky TE2 status until further notice.

2016 Week 1 vs OAK (4 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)

It was an inauspicious debut in white and gold for the free-agent acquisition to say the least, as Fleener was a distant fourth option in New Orleans' passing attack. Fleener was targeted on the opening play of the game, but did not record the catch. Concerningly, his next target did not come until early in the fourth quarter, when he was unable to execute a vertical route up the right seam, letting his defender get in front of him and bat the pass away. Fleener's first catch as a Saint, his only one of the day, came on the following possession when he served as safety valve in the middle of the field while his quarterback was under pressure. There's still reason to believe the TE spot will return production in New Orleans' offense, but the transition for Fleener certainly hasn't started without a hitch.


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17@ Atlanta Falcons